We are about to head in to the back half of 2020. Have you gotten in plenty of fishing trips yet? Don’t let this summertime weather heat keep you indoors. Hydrate, apply that sunscreen and get out and go!
News to Know:
- Night Fishing: Did you know that you could night fish on Georgia’s Public Fishing Areas (with the exception of Rocky Mountain PFA)? Time to sleep a little during the day and plan a fun night trip!
- The Outdoors is Always Open: Got friends or family members that need this reminder? Send them this link.
- How to Attract Fish….and Anglers: Fish attractors provide shelter for the creatures game fish eat giving them a reason to stick around, hide in the structures and grab a bite – maybe even your hook.
This week, we have fishing reports from Central, North and Southeast Georgia. Read up and get ready to Go Fish Georgia!
(Fishing report courtesy of Steve Schleiger, fisheries biologist and Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant.
LAKE RUSSELL IS FULL 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. Find and fish biggest cluster of rocks in the shade and fish with a ¼-ounce jig while using no more than 10-pound Suffix Line. Also, use a Rapala DT6 or DT10 along these same areas and be sure to bounce the baits off the rocks. After the sun comes up, head to the bridge pylons. On a spinning rod use a ¼-ounce Strobe Tear Drop Spoon by Blue Fox on 8 to 10-pound test Suffix line. Use a Robo worm in morning dawn and fish this vertical jig on all the pylons under the bridges starting at one side then move to the other. Most strikes will come on the fall of the bait and watching your line is a must. These hot summer patterns will work until the water cools back down. Use the Lowrance Structure Scan and Down Scan technology while fishing the bridge pylons.
CLARKS HILL IS FULL, 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Start fishing around the Mistletoe State Park with the Carolina rigs. Use anywhere from an eighteen to twenty-four-inch leader and a watermelon seed Zoom lizard out to ten to twenty feet deep. The submerged river humps are still producing some good bass. Bass are holding very tight to deep structure when they aren’t generating water. When current is available, crank baits on the back sides of the humps, rip rap and main lake points seem to be the most productive. Also, fishing rip rap around bridges with spinnerbaits, small crank baits, and shaky head rigs is effective. There still could be a few shad spawning first thing in the mornings. Later in the month some bass should start showing up on deeper brush piles and roadbeds as the water warms. Try deep crankbaits or Texas rigged Ol’ Monster worms.
LAKE OCONEE IS FULL, 70’S
(This Lake Oconee fishing report is by Captain Mark Smith of Reel Time Service. 404-803-0741)–
Bass: Bass fishing is good. The temperature is 80 to 84 degrees. Richland Creek and the main lake are clear. Up the river is stained. Buzz baits at first light on sea walls and rip rap are effective. Start in the middle of the creeks and work your way out of the creeks and coves. Then switch over to a spinner bait and fish the same areas. Soft plastics fished under docks in the middle of the coves will produce some good fish. If there is structure under or around the dock it will increase your chances. Carolina rigs fished on points have also been producing. Some fish are starting to show up on the humps on the south end of the lake. Carolina rigs fished with a short leader will draw strikes. Also, start looking for the grass beds on the south end and work a frog in and around the grass.
Striped Bass: Striper fishing is fair. Live bait, shad have been working on down lines all over the south end of the lake. Find the schools off points and humps on your Lowrance and drop a lively shad to them and hang on. Some trolling action is also happening in the same location. There is a good spoon bite in the afternoons when Georgia Power is pulling water. The striper fishing is almost over. The dissolved oxygen levels are dropping fast.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. The summer down-line bite on top of timber and brush piles has produced large numbers and size over the past week. Find the fish in the top of the timber with your Lowrance Down Scan and drop a minnow or a jig into the school and hang on.
WEST POINT LAKE IS FULL, CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing has been fair to good and several baits and patterns are working. Early and late use spinner baits and buzz baits in the shallows and shadows then get to the humps and use larger crank baits. Work the main lake humps and check out the rip rap on bridges and main lake points early morning and use a # 7 or # 5 Shad Rap in baby bass or shiner and the spinnerbait. There has been a good bite up lake in the cooler river waters. Use larger Zoom Bush Hogs and green lizards on a Texas rig. The river points down lake have been best in the middle of the day using a 200 all-white Bandit. Use the Lowrance and fish off the points out to 50 feet away from the banks and points on the main lake.
LAKE SINCLAIR IS DOWN 1.5 STAINED 80’S
Bass fishing is fair. There is some top water action there early until the water gets super hot. Use top water Devils Horse lures and all white buzz baits. All white seems to be the hot colors with a little green in the skirts. These baits have been taking some really good fish early in the day. After the sun gets up, slow rolling spinner baits and large crank baits has been the best way to get to the deeper fish on the river. Carolina rigged Zoom green pumpkin Trick worms or the same color in the Zoom lizard in the six-inch size will work and some extra Mega Strike scent will help the fish hold the baits longer. There has been a good top water bite on docks on the shady side. Use green frog and white buzz baits. Go up the river and work the points and small cuts up to and past Murder Creek. There is good fishing in these areas as the day warms up. Take the Carolina rig and fish the points out to 20 feet deep.
LAKE JACKSON IS .80 FEET OVER FULL CLEAR 70’S
Bass fishing is fair. Go early and late and the bass are mostly small spots. With this fish in the lake, forget seasonal black bass patterns now that the spots are taking over. Fish for spots with smaller baits and anything green in a soft plastic of a spotted bass favorite. Fish the dam area and work the shallow ledges. Use DT6 crank bait and shad raps on points in the middle of the lake. After dark, larger worms work and keep the smaller fish out of the way. Jitterbugs in black after dark as well as a 10-inch red shad Culprit on a Texas rig will work for largemouth. Black and other dark colors are working and add some red dye with crawfish scent on the tail end of the worm. Night fishing around lighted docks down lake with a June bug Zoom trick worm is fair and use a tiny weight.
FLAT CREEK PFA (More Info HERE)
- Surface Temperature: 85.6˚ F (29.8˚ C)
- Water Level: 2’ 0” Below Full Pool
- Water Visibility: 24”
- Flat Creek PFA Fishing Guide
The heat of summer is pushing the fish deeper as the sun rises on Flat Creek PFA. This has produced more sluggish bites, and more challenging fishing towards afternoon.
Those that start fishing early or at night have had better luck catching fish. Bass fishing has been good for those who have been able to get their lures into that 6’-7’ water depth where the bass seem to be hanging out. The large bream have been biting during the full and new moon phases. Crappie fishing has started to slow down as they have started to spread out across the lake and a little more finesse is required to find them. A three-plus pound crappie was recently reported to have been caught.
Crappie: Jigs (John Deere or yellow and white colored Triple Ripple, or June Bug colored Teaser Tail) and light tackle. If you are shoreline fishing, try casting a minnow in the shade of the pier. If on a boat try cover that creates shade (tree tops) or structure (gravel piles).
Bass: Strike King Pro Model 5XD Crankbait in Neon Bluegill. Plum colored ‘Ol Monster worms by Zoom. Watermelon or Pumpkinseed Culprit worms. Minnows and worms.
Bream: Worms (Red Wigglers and Pinks) on a Carolina rig. Worms on a Texas rig. Near cover or near the shallower water during a full moon. Catalpa worms.
Channel Catfish: Fresh Catalpa worms if found, are the traditional best bait for July. Red Wiggler worms have also been reported to catch catfish right now.
(Fishing report courtesy of Jim Hakala Region Supervisor with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, with help from Region Staff and Local Experts)
Lanier Bass: (Report courtesy of Jimbo Mathley) — LAKE LANIER IS .56 FEET OVER FULL. THE MAIN LAKE AND CREEKS ARE STAINED & 70’S. Bass fishing is good. The majority of our fish this week have come from 20 to 25 feet of water. We have focused mainly on humps with brush. The brush in 20 to 25 feet is now holding more fish and there has been some decent schooling action this week as well. Top water and swimbaits have been our main pursuit this week and will continue to be for the next several weeks. A variety of baits have been working, and the best baits seem to vary daily. Walking and popping baits are all valid options in the top water arena. So stay on the move and remain versatile with your lure choices.
Lake Lanier Striper Report: (Report courtesy of Buck Cannon of Buck Tails Guide Service) — Striper fishing has started the summer pattern and they are scattered from Yahoo to Long Hollow above 369 bridge and mud creek to two mile shoot. Electronics can locate the bait and fish in areas where coves narrow down. Down lines with blueback herring have been the ticket. Fish over a 30-60′ bottom and put your lines down at variable depths. Pay attention to the depth where you get strikes to zero in on a pattern. Stripers and large spots will have you baiting a lot. Remember, Buck Tales it like it is.
GON-tel: Lanier trolling
Allatoona Report: (Report courtesy of angler Matt Driver) — As far as just catching bass, you cannot beat a 3/16 ounce Ned head rigged with an Aarons magic Robo Ned worm. If you are fishing at night, throw a crankbait on main lake points or a Picasso nighttime spinner bait with a big Colorado blade. If you are just wanting to catch fish, pole markers in about 12 to 15 foot of water should hold good numbers of channel cats that can be caught using minnows or other live bait.
More Allatoona Bass: (Report courtesy of Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant) — LAKE ALLATOONA IS FULL, STAINED 70’S. Bass fishing is fair. Get out early, as the traffic builds fast. Fish early top water on points and steep banks with a Jackall SK Pop Grande in shad colors or use small Zara Spook-type walking baits. This bite lasts only a few hours. Watch for any schooling activity and use a ¼ ounce Scrounger tipped with a fluke if you see some. As the day warms, start fishing any brush or cover with a ¼ Davis Shakey Head with the 6” Robo Worm in Kerrilious color. Night fishing is fair, with some nights better than others. Start your night by casting jigs to steep banks or brush. A green pumpkin jig is a great choice. As darkness hits, break the crankbait out and fish main lake points with a DLN or DDZZ. Midnight blue or black colors always work. Also, try slow rolling a ¾ ounce spinnerbait like the Punisher Short Arm.
Allatoona Bass Habitat: (From Fisheries Biologist John Damer) — Over the last few years the DNR, Army Corp and local volunteers have been planting native aquatic plants at shoreline locations on Lake Allatoona. Sites in Coopers Branch and Tanyard Creek have received plantings in an effort to increase quality fish habitat in these shallow water areas. Recent surveys have shown previous year’s plantings have survived and are able to tolerate Allatoona’s annual water fluctuations. Once established, the plants will hopefully expand their coverage to provide improved shallow water fish habitat, especially for largemouth bass, in the future.
Hartwell Report: (Report courtesy of Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant) — LAKE HARTWELL IS DOWN .85 FEET, 70’S. Bass fishing is fair. Fish early and use trick worms and Shad Raps on shallow flats with a creek channel close by. In the heat of the day the fishing is tough. The bass seem to feed early and then late during twilight hours. A buzz bait is a good way to cover lots of water, and this bait usually draws better fish in the summer. There is no set bait the bass seem to key on, just make tons of casts to the structure. Try pitching and casting and concentrating on the wood. Casting close in and around all the wood and some docks has worked. Up the rivers is the better areas for less boat traffic. Zoom pearl Super Flukes are still working around docks especially in the coves and pockets with shade. Large 3/0 Mustad offset hooks and a small stinger hook is a great all day lure. Think of this as a soft jerk bait and let it sink 2 to 12 feet on points in the creeks. During the day the Zoom finesse worm on a 3 foot Carolina rig at 12 to 16 feet off the main river points is fair. The river fishing seems better with the cooler water having the bass more active. Plus the traffic is not as bad.
Hartwell Striper Study: (From Fisheries Biologist Anthony Rabern) — Striped bass telemetry data were downloaded from passive receivers located around the 56,000 acres of Lake Hartwell. Thirty-nine striped bass previously implanted with an ultrasonic internal transmitter were detected nearly 15,000 times over the past three months! These results will document the major habitats and seasonal migration patterns used by striped bass during the spring months.
Lake Weiss: (Report courtesy of Southern Fishing With Ken Sturdivant) — WEISS LAKE IS AT 0 FEET 9 INCHES BELOW FULL POOL AND CLEAR AND 79-81 DEGREE’S.
- Bass: Bass fishing is good. Fish shallow docks, sea walls and rip-rap rock near current. Jigs, worms and shallow running crankbaits and spinner baits are catching fish. Some fish are starting to show up on secondary points and road beds in 4 to 8 feet of water. Some bass are starting to be caught on the creek and river channel ledges also. Bass seem to be scattered and on several different patterns, due to the time of year and relatively cool water temperature.
- Crappie: Crappie fishing is good. Crappie have moved to deeper brush and cover on the flats and old river channel ledges 8 to 14 feet deep. Spider rigging with live minnows is the way to catch these crappie. Shooting docks with a 1/24 ounce Jiffy Jig is still producing too. Crappie are still being caught around the docks and the night fishing is really getting good also. Look for these patterns to hold over the summer.
SMALL LAKE REPORTS
Rocky Mountain PFA: (Report courtesy of PFA Manager Dennis Shiley) — Bass are biting good. Fish structure in 8 to 10 ft of water. Keep an eye out for bass chasing shad schools early, late and during low light conditions. Try a jointed swim bait around those schools, as bass are actively feeding beneath. Use soft plastics under the shad schools at times of inactivity. Dennis also reported weighing a 9 lbs 6 oz largemouth caught by a Rocky Mountain PFA angler recently. The fish came tantalizingly close to becoming the first 10+ pound bass to be certified at Rocky PFA. While fish of that caliber are out there, currently the top spot for largemouth bass sits open and waiting for an angler to claim the top honor. Learn more about the Public Fishing Area Record Awards Program HERE.
River Striping: (Courtesy of retired Fisheries Supervisor Jeff Durniak) — Summer’s here, so be on the lookout for “summer vacationers.” Striped bass will swim upstream from flatland reservoirs in search of cold summer refuges in tributary rivers. Leave your dry flies and thin trout tippets at home, for it’s time to toss some big, meaty streamers on aircraft cable. And sharpen that hook before you cast. Good luck prospecting in the dawn and dusk shadows for your own summer vacationer.
Look Before You Drive: (Courtesy of retired Fisheries Supervisor Jeff Durniak) — River bass and bream can be hit or miss this time of year. “We can hit ‘em when the water is clear, but they’re a miss when river flows are high and muddy after a summer deluge”. The USGS flow gauges are worth a look before you drive.
Trout Stocking: The trout stocking trucks continue to roll as we welcome summer. Are you still wondering where they stocked trout ahead of this coming weekend? If so, you need to check out the weekly trout stocking report (updated every Friday afternoon) before you head out. You can even sign up to have those updates emailed directly to you every week!
Stocker Strategies: (Courtesy of Trout Stocking Coordinator John Thomson) — With a warm dry weekend in the forecast it will be a great time to get out and wet a line in your favorite trout stream. With the warm weather forecasted, the trout fishing in low elevation streams will become less productive. Anglers should focus their efforts on high elevation streams at the coolest part of the day. Additionally, many brown trout have left the Buford Trout Hatchery destined for north Georgia trout streams. These fish prefer crickets and red wigglers over the traditional “yellow nibbles”. Good luck and take a kid fishing.
North GA Mountain Stream: (Report courtesy of “Academy” Jack Becker) — This week I tried my favorite trout fishing streams in the N. Ga. Mountains. I did not arrive until 12:30 and started at Smith Creek above Unicoi Lake. Picnic area’s 4, 5 & 6 were full. No place to park at these locations. It is only about a 10 minute drive to the Chattahoochee WMA above Helen. When I arrived there I found this area was also crowded, but I found a place to pull off along the water and caught a couple of nice rainbows for dinner. I was using small Mepps spinners and weighted Joes Flies to catch fish.
Hiawassee River: (Report courtesy of the Cohutta TU Chapter) — We sent out four drift boats Friday and five Saturday. Had us a little catching challenge. Mike Bivens caught the Big Fish, 18” rainbow. New member Chad Kelly and yours truly caught the Most Fish (25). The catching was really good as every boat caught double digit trout! As usual, very well done by Dane and Co. We appreciate their effort!
Want to do more to support trout fishing in Georgia? Consider upgrading to a Trout Unlimited license plate this year. Aside from being a great looking tag, each purchase or renewal of a Trout Unlimited license plate supports Georgia’s trout conservation and management programs. Hatcheries and wild trout efforts both benefit from the trout tag.
(Fishing report courtesy of Bert Deener, fisheries biologist and Southeast Region Fisheries Supervisor, with help from Region Staff and local experts)
The recent rains brought most of the southern Georgia rivers back into the floodplains. Look for the upper Satilla and Altamaha to be fishable this week.
First quarter moon is June 28th. To monitor all the Georgia river levels, visit the USGS website HERE. For the latest marine forecast, click HERE.
The upper state hasn’t gotten as much rain as the southern rivers, and the Altamaha system should be fishable this coming week. The water is clearing, and bream fishing has improved. The better reports came from the backwaters and smaller creeks. Pitching crickets produced some huge bluegills for the group with the best report this week. They fished in an oxbow off the river. Bass fishing has been decent, with most folks catching them near the mouths of oxbows and creeks using buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, and crankbaits. Catfishing has been good, with limb-liners doing best, but channel and blue cats bit worms, shrimp and cut bait on the bottom for rod-and-reel anglers. The river level was 5.2 feet and falling (82 degrees) at the Baxley gage, and 7.0 feet and falling (84 degrees) at the Doctortown gage on June 25th.
Jason Arrington used bruiser-colored Satilla Spins (the first time he had every used the little spinnerbait) this week on the Ogeechee and caught a cooler-full of redbreasts, with a few other species mixed in. Donny Riner kept whacking the fish this week in the stained water. He and his grandson, Cole (whom he proudly pointed out is a recent honor-graduate…), fished this week and caught a couple dozen nice redbreasts and a couple chain pickerel (jackfish) by throwing stumpknocker-colored Satilla Spins. What a graduation present! The river level at the Eden gage on June 25th was 5.1 feet and falling.
The river is falling back out after last week’s rain, and folks should catch some nice fish in the upper river this weekend. I went over the US 1 Bridge north of Waycross on Thursday, and it’s looking good. Take note of the Highway 158 Bridge landing being closed due to construction of the replacement Hwy 158 Bridge. This will affect anglers fishing that upper river area, so plan accordingly. The river level on June 25th at the Waycross gage was 6.6 feet and falling (81 degrees). The Atkinson gage was 11.2 feet and falling.
ST. MARYS RIVER
Most of the river is still high and muddy, but the extreme upper river may be fishable this weekend. Your best bet would be putting shrimp on the bottom for catfish. Water was still out in the parking area at Traders Hill as late as Wednesday, so plan accordingly. Shady Bream Tournaments canceled their panfish tournament last weekend out of Traders Hill because of high water, but check them out on Facebook for future tournament information. The river level at the MacClenny gage on June 25th was 7.1 feet and falling.
This is where most of the action was this past week. Teddy Elrod fished just a couple hours on Friday morning and landed 10 bass up to 4 pounds from a Brunswick area pond. He fooled them primarily with crankbaits. A panfish angler reported using beetlespins and catching between 8 and 20 bluegills per trip by fishing the edges of vegetation. They weren’t as big of fish as a couple of weeks ago, but they were solid half-pounders. Chad Lee caught a dozen bass and some big bluegills over the past week on both his fly rod and casting tackle. Chartreuse Bert’s Bugs worked best for him with the long rod, and he caught a few bass up to 3 pounds on a dragonfly lure and plastic worms with casting tackle. During his lunch breaks this week he caught another half-dozen bass in the 2 to 3-pound range on red shad curly-tail worms. Waycross area ponds produced catfish for those soaking chicken livers.
Staff at Okefenokee Adventures said that not many folks fished this week, and catches were slower than before the recent rains. The fish are still spread out in the prairies but will bite as it drops off the flats. Warmouth early in the morning are your best bet. They had just started hitting poppers early in the morning before the recent rains, so there’s no reason to believe they won’t continue hitting them as the water pulls back off the prairies. You can also catch bowfin once the sun gets up by flinging lures down the middle of the canal. Yellow flies have not been bad, and an angler fishing Wednesday morning only saw 2 of the little yellow nasties all morning. They’re usually gone by July 4th, so we may be in the clear for this year. Until June 27th the adjusted refuge and Okefenokee Adventures hours will be in effect (7am to 4pm). Beginning the 27th, the hours will go back to the usual 1/2 hour before sunrise until 7:30pm for summertime schedule. Check the Okefenokee Adventures website for the latest on their services.
SALTWATER (GA COAST)
Winds and stormy evenings were the norm this week, and not many folks fished. Shane Barber fished the St. Marys area on Friday and caught some trout (several 17-20 inches) on both live shrimp and jigs. They also had a keeper flounder. The jetties were very rough, so they stayed inside for their fish. A Kingsland angler fished several days this week and caught trout, flounder, redfish, and whiting. The trout ate live shrimp around oyster bars. Keeper reds ate artificials around the same oyster bars. He caught 32 pounds of bull whiting on Wednesday by using dead shrimp while fishing the beach. Tarpon are around if winds will allow you to get out to them. Trout are on the Cumberland beach spawning if you like that bite. Flounder can be caught inshore and around any rocks or current breaks (docks, etc.) you can find. Check with the Jekyll Island Fishing Center (912-635-3556) for the latest on the Jekyll Island Pier or St. Simons Bait & Tackle (912-634-1888) for the latest on the St. Simons Pier.
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